- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Breast prostheses
- Wearing a breast prosthesis
Wearing a breast prosthesis
It may take time to get used to having a prosthesis. You may feel nervous about wearing it, or it may feel different depending on the weather, your clothes or what you’re doing. You may have some concerns, including those outlined below.
Common concerns include:
- How to control the temperature
- Clothes and swimwear
- How to adapt to clothes and use accessories
Silicone prostheses are available in different weights to suit a variety of needs. A standard silicone breast prosthesis is designed to be about the same weight as a natural breast. Lightweight and ultra-lightweight breast prostheses are about 20–40% lighter than the standard prosthesis.
A prosthesis that is correctly fitted and properly supported in a bra can make you feel balanced and will usually not feel too heavy, even if it feels heavy in your hands. It may take a bit of time to get used to the weight, particularly if it has been a while since the mastectomy. You may prefer to wear a lightweight prosthesis when playing sport or a soft prosthesis in bed.
You may find that wearing the prosthesis feels too hot in warm and humid weather. This is more common if you have larger breasts. New models of breast prostheses are designed with air ventilation and drying methods to help manage temperature and increase comfort.
My breast form gets sweaty after I’ve been playing tennis. I have two, so after a shower I swap.Pam
How to control the temperature
Clothes and swimwear
It’s common to worry about what you can wear with a prosthesis. You may find that you don’t need to change your clothes, but you might need to make some adjustments. For example, you may no longer feel comfortable wearing low-cut tops.
Your fitter may also stock a range of products designed specifically to be worn with a breast prosthesis. These include lingerie, sleepwear, swimwear, sports bras, activewear and camisettes (material that attaches to your bra straps to make low necklines more modest).
The range of mastectomy wear is constantly expanding and many attractive options are available. You may prefer to swim without your breast prosthesis, but if you swim regularly, there are advantages to buying a swim breast prosthesis.
Swim breast prostheses are made of clear, water-resistant silicone. They are lightweight and dry quickly. You should rinse the prosthesis after swimming to avoid chlorine or saltwater damage. You may also want to wear special pocketed swimwear, which includes a bra pocket for a swim breast prosthesis, wide straps, and higher neck and arm lines.
Australian and international brands offer a wide range of styles, patterns and colours of suitable swimwear. These can be bought from your fitter, some department stores, direct from some manufacturers or online.
How to adapt clothing or use accessories
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and Clinical Associate Professor, The University of Sydney, NSW; Dragana Ceprnja, Senior Physiotherapist and Health Professional Educator, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Jan Davies, Consumer; Rosemerry Hodgkin, Consumer; Gillian Horton, Owner and Director, Colleen’s Lingerie and Swimwear, ACT; Ashleigh Mondolo, Clinical Nurse Consultant Breast Care Nurse, Mater Private Hospital South Brisbane, QLD; Dr Jane O’Brien, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgeon, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, VIC; Moira Waters, Breast Care Nurse, Breast Cancer Care WA; Sharon Woolridge, Consumer; Rebecca Yeoh, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
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